One of the central concepts of the SCA is the creation of a "persona;" that is, when you join the SCA, you do not participate as yourself, the man or woman that you are at the turn of the 21st century. Instead, you make up a person that might have lived in the time before 1601. This is called your persona. Your persona is a tool to help you study life in the Middle Ages as it relates to daily living, rather than the dry list of events that you might get in your "History of Western Civilization" class.
Some people take a name and a general place and era, and end their study there. Others take a person and create a story in exquisite detail from birth to grave.
I, Elyse Boucher, have chosen one primary persona (the person I am usually portraying) and created a variety of secondary personas. The secondary personas reflect other cultures or/and aspects of life that I am also interested in studying--but, as the tag "secondary" suggests, only as an adjunct to my primary interest. However, despite the multiple names you will see below, I always answer to the name "Merouda Pendray" when participating in the SCA; it's hard enough to recall the persona AND modern name of most SCA people, much less a modern name and 5 different persona names!
Merouda Pendray:primary persona
Merouda was born in Cornwall during the reign of Henry VIII. Like many of the Cornish, she spent her early years practicing Catholicism. However, as the heir of a lesser noble, she was eventually fostered into the household of Henry Grey and Frances Brandon. Here, removed from the conservative atmosphere of Cornwall, she converted to Protestantism, and became a devoted follower of the new religion. She also had the opportunity to become something of a scholar; while she did not actually study with the Grey children, the atmosphere in the household was conducive to greater learning for those who desired education. Merouda took advantage of this.
While Merouda's family wasn't important enough to merit summoning to court in and of itself, as a part of the Grey household, she was regularly in contact with the court around Henry and, eventually, Edward VI and Mary I. This link lead her into the company of Leveena Terlink, a Flemish limner. Watching Leveena inspired Merouda to also take up limning.
Upon the ascension of Mary, Merouda's father arranged a marriage to a member of the Spanish Ambassador's household, thinking that this Spanish alliance might improve his daughter's chances for advancement at court. However, both Merouda and her husband, Miguel--only outwardly pious and so unconcerned with Merouda's religion--continued to spend most of their time within their respective households, spending only occasional weeks in each other's company.
However, during the tense days prior to the Spanish Marriage, Merouda's father summoned her home, and she returned to Cornwall. Miguel joined her there, and, as a result of her refusal to relinquish her Protestant faith, Merouda and Miguel left England. They journeyed to Flanders, where he was able to secure a place in the Spanish governor's household and she was protected by the Flemish protestant community.
There, Miguel continues in service and Merouda serves an English family as a gentlewoman limner and scribe. Like other exiled English Protestants, she longs for the ascension of Elizabeth, rightful heir and Protestant Prince, for she greatly desires to return to her home. Meanwhile, she travels occasionally to other Protestant areas as a part of the English family's retinue or to Spain with her husband--and has happily found that her arranged marriage has become a love match.
The only dark spot in her personal life was the disappearance of their daughter, Isobel. But that is a story for another time.
Ilse of Larvik:secondary persona
Ilse was born in Larvik, Norway, in 1480. She is the daughter of a merchant and has had the opportunity to travel to England, Scotland, and Burgundy in his company. She married Snorri in her 20th year.
Anna of Wyle:secondary persona
Anna lives in England, a servant to the Empress Matilda, during the 12th century.
Luvday Rhyswall:secondary persona
Also from Cornwall, Luvday lives during the reign of Henry IV and Henry V. She is the Lady of a small estate, a recent widow with a marriageable daughter.
Nirmalya of Delhi:secondary persona
Nirmalya is a servant in the women's quarters in one of the homes sometimes used by the Emperor Babur. She is a terrible gossip and a poet.
Sautome Akane:a semi persona
Akane is a Japanese woman interested in music, but has not yet been sufficiently developed to receive a better name or greater details regarding her life.